Concerns about inclusion and social responsibility as conduit for social justice on university campuses offer a platform for interdisciplinary initiatives. Here we focus on one such initiative, which seeks to build community between University of Richmond students and local Latino and Hispanic populations using the University of Richmond Museum collection. Collaborations between museums and Spanish classes, including a community-based learning component (Spanish Community-Based Learning and Museums - SCBLM), provide outreach to the local community and might prompt dialogues about extant social injustices (however overt or subliminal). In these experiential learning projects, the museum serves as a communal resource to embody ACTFL’s Five C’s of language teaching (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, communities). The SCBLM engagements, typically Spanish museum tours, encourage social awareness, connections, and social justice by way of empathetic inclusion. This paper explains the vision (objectives) of this practice (community-based learning) and the outcomes (implications) with university students; for support, we use research from museum studies, language teaching, and critical pedagogy. As a new endeavor in academic and museum scholarship, this paper provides a model for interdisciplinary teaching and research. Finally, we state the necessity for student-community inclusive projects within universities, as they allow for a more socially aware, empathetic, and connected community.
Copyright © 2018 Southern Conference on Language Teaching. This chapter first appeared in Dimension 2018.
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Vázquez, Karina Elizabeth and Martha Wright. "Making Visible the Invisible: Social Justice and Inclusion through the Collaboration of Museums and Spanish Community-Based Learning Projects." In Dimensions 2018. Decatur GA: Southern Conference on Language Teaching, 2018.